Save Money and Give the Gift of Time This Holiday Season
By American Saves
According to the National Retail Federation’s recent survey, more than 164 million Americans plan to shop over Thanksgiving weekend and Cyber Monday. And of those, a whopping 20 percent plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day.
When asked what they enjoy the most about shopping during the holidays, over a third said “it is a family tradition” while 23 percent said they most enjoy holiday decorations and displays; nearly as many cited finding the perfect gift for someone.
Before you rush to the stores in-person or online to shop, like so many Americans this season, take a moment to stop and think. After all, the real meaning behind the holiday season shouldn’t be how many gifts you give or how expensive they are, but spending time with family and friends while celebrating traditions.
Keep your finances under control with these four simple holiday spending (and saving) tips:
1. Don’t shop without first creating a sensible holiday spending plan. Make your list, check it twice and then decide a reasonable budget to work with. Check out this Free Holiday Budget Printable. If you’re worried that you’re overspending, here are some signs you could be spending too much this holiday and some strategies to help you stop.
2. Do set reasonable expectations this holiday season for yourself and family. It will save your wallet and sanity from credit card bills that come after the holidays are over. Be upfront and honest with your family about your budget. Remember that gifts don’t have to be expensive to be thoughtful. Consider setting gift spending limits with your family, or pulling names out of a hat and only gifting to one person.
3. Consider other ways to give. Small acts of kindness, especially during the busy holiday season, go a long way and are priceless. Bake up some holiday treats, put them in a pretty box with a bow and you can easily knock some names off your gift list. Consider making your own unique presents for loved ones. Some of the best gifts I’ve ever received were the ones made especially for me. Better yet, give the gift of time. Instead of opting to give gifts this year, suggest to family members that you should all get together and volunteer for a cause.
4. Give yourself a gift–SAVE that bonus! Don’t forget to give to yourself this holiday season. While it may be tempting to buy that sweater you’ve been eyeing since it is “such a good deal,” consider saving that money instead. Get a holiday bonus from work? Save it instead of spending it. You’ll feel much better going into the New Year with little or no debt, and better yet—a growing savings account. If you don’t know where to start, Finances Demystified can help. Learn how to get started here and make a plan today.
Before you buy into the insanity of holiday consumerism, ask yourself what brings you and your family the most joy during the holidays? Spending aimlessly or spending time together? Find joy and focus on giving the gift of your time this holiday season.